Your life is over when you have kids

I remember when we told people that my wife was pregnant with twins.

There were plenty of handshakes, hugs, and congratulations. But I also heard this line quite a bit:

“Oh man, your life is over!”

A common refrain, and one which all parents have heard expressed, in some variation or another, many times.

Of course it’s usually said with a smile and a laugh, but there’s a message beneath the surface.

Your life is over when you have kids.

I’ve been thinking about that statement a lot these past few days. Anyone who follows me on Facebook (find me here, by the way) has been treated (subjected) to the stories of our trials and tribulations as we have attempted to move from Kentucky to Maryland with our two kids, two cats (unfortunately), all of our belongings, and all during the holidays, in between family reunions, baptisms, and weddings.

Despite a serious flood in the living room from a cracked pipe, this week we finally thought we could settle down, put the finishing touches on the house, and carve out a new routine in our new home.

But the twins made other arrangements.

Luke came down with a bad stomach virus. He’s spent the last few days expelling fluids from various orifices, usually all over my wife or myself. Meanwhile, Julia developed a respiratory infection, which she kindly shared with poor, sickly Luke.

When it pukes, it pours — especially if you have small children in the house.

We took them to the doctor, despite the fact that I am newly self employed, and getting insurance on the individual market is now virtually impossible, thanks to the compassionate Mr. Obama and his wonderful “healthcare for everyone.” We’ve decided to go with a Christian sharing plan, but, naturally, the kids became ill before we could finalize our new insurance coverage.

It was an adventure in and of itself finding a place to take the kids. When we did, the doctor informed us that there’s nothing she can really do. These things will have to just run their course. That’ll be 400 dollars. Have a nice day!

Oh, but we did find out about Julia’s ear infection, so the trip wasn’t a total bust! (Hooray?)

I went to put Luke down to bed after we made it home from our productive trip to the doctor’s office. I feel sorry for the little guy. He’s in rough shape, and it’s not like he understands what’s going on, why he feels this way, or why that doctor was shoving things into his mouth and ears. I leaned over to kiss him on the forehead as I placed him in his crib. It was a sweet moment. Right up until he coughed phlegm right on my face. It even went up my nose. UP MY NOSE. I’ve never had somebody else’s mucus inside my nostrils, and I wish to God that particular streak was never broken.

That night, the kids woke themselves up coughing every 45 minutes. I think I slept at some point, but I’m not sure. Today, I sat down in my office intending to write a post about the Chris Christie scandal, but I was too tired to put my thoughts together. I started to send some emails instead, and I fell asleep mid-type. I was having those weird awake-dreams you have when you’re sleep deprived. I think Bill Paxton showed up in one of them, or maybe Twister was on TV.

In any case, if we’re swapping parenting horror stories, I’m sure many of you could easily outdo this little tale of sickness, exhaustion, and Bill Paxton. It’s run-of-the-mill. Totally unremarkable.

And so is this revelation:

Your life is over when you have kids.

It’s true. They were right. It’s over.

My life is over now that I have kids.

My life is over.

That thing that I called MY life. That portion of existence — that long, lonely chapter — when I lived for me, and me alone. That delusion known as my life, where I exerted, or thought I exerted, ownership over my whole self. Where I separated my life from all other lives, and lived to satisfy my whims and desires.

That’s over. That’s all over.

It’s not automatic, of course. I’m a fool, so I thought there would be a sudden transformation from Selfish Matt to Generous, Selfless Matt. I thought the moment my kids emerged from my wife’s body, I’d instantly morph into a mystical creature known as “Dad,” and my old habits and old self-obsessions would magically evaporate. I thought that the first time our kids woke us up crying in the middle of the night, I’d leap out of bed with a smile, prance over to them, and sing a song of comfort and reassurance. “Everything is OK children: Dad is here! I shall tend to your needs with happiness in my heart and joy radiating from my inner being!”

But the kids cried that first night after they were born. And I was tired, frustrated, and irritated that first night after they were born. And then I felt guilty for being tired, frustrated, and irritated. I don’t think I pranced or sang at all, in fact.

So I’m learning this lesson. I’m learning it slowly. There’s no other way to do it. I don’t get to cut to a whimsical montage full of slapstick parental mishaps, ending with a pithy slogan where I say what I’ve learned, and then we all live happily ever after. It doesn’t work that way. I’ve got to earn it, one sleepless, vomit-soaked night at a time.

I’m not living for me anymore. I never should have lived just for me, but now I can’t. Either I become less selfish, or I fail in my duty as a parent. There is no middle ground.

Maybe it could be said that parenting requires you to be the sort of person you always should have been. After all, my life was never really my life, anyway. I never owned it. It never belonged to me. There are only two things you can do to proclaim final ownership of yourself: commit suicide, or go to hell. That’s the horrifying irony of hell: countless souls, tormented in the Nothingness, shouting “MINE” into the abyss, forever.

Parenting is the precise opposite of both decisions. Parenting requires you to live, and to live for something greater than yourself. In fact, it requires you to redefine and repurpose your concept of self.

Surely, that doesn’t mean that I have no identity, or that I shouldn’t take time to unwind, or that I shouldn’t be sure to step away from the kids sometimes and take my wife out on a date. I learned the importance of these things from my parents. Mom and Dad were, and still are, famous for their rigorous adherence to date night. It could have been flooding during a hurricane during an asteroid strike during a zombie attack during an alien invasion — if it happened on a Friday, you better believe that Mom and Dad were still going out to Bertucci’s and coming home with a movie to watch together. They put each other first, and then the kids. One day, during my teenage years, when I was trying to play my Mom against my Dad to get something that I wanted, or to get out of some trouble I was in, my Mom finally even told me as much: “Matt, you’ll never get me to turn against your dad. He’s my first priority. Not you.”

That was a tough pill to swallow, but my parents were willing to give out the harsh medicine when the situation called for it.

So I get it. My kids aren’t my life. But I’m not my life, either. I was at one time, or I thought I was, but not anymore. And their lives are eternally tied to mine, and mine to their, and every decision that I make will have an impact on them, for better or for worse. This is a responsibility that I must always keep in mind, all of the time, no matter what.

It’s not my life. It’s hers, it’s his, it’s theirs, it’s ours. Ultimately, it’s His, and He has given it to them. So my life — MY life — is over.

This is true. This is beautiful. This is why parenting is a high calling.

And this is exactly why our society hates children.

No matter what anyone else says, THIS is why we’re experiencing historically low birth rates. It’s got nothing to do with an economic crisis, and everything to do with a selfishness crisis. This is why we dehumanize children, kill them, exterminate them. This is why we have less of them, and why we call birth control a “preventative medication.” It’s why couples who choose (note: I said CHOOSE) not to have kids will often refer to themselves as “child-free” — much like a recovering patient might call himself cancer-free.

We run around putting “my” in front of things that cannot be ours. It’s MY time, MY life, MY body. And then we conceive a child and we simply can not let go of the “MY.” Barney and Mr. Rogers failed in their mission to teach us about sharing. We kill a million babies a year just because we don’t want to share.

These are the truths I’m still learning, and still sometimes struggling to accept. It’s a long process. My kids are just starting to learn how to crawl. I guess you could say the same about me.

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261 Responses to Your life is over when you have kids

  1. Hernando says:

    Russian gunnery has never been known for its efficiency, but it has been known for substituting mass for accuracy. The Russian army distinguished itself by the size of its gun batteries: typically, 12 or even 14 guns where other nations fielded 6 or 8. In battle, the guns per 1,000 men ratio was, correspondingly, quite high; At Eylau it was around 6, Borodino over 5, while in other armies the ratio seemed to have been in the 2.5 to 3.5 range.

    And yet, this ratio did not make Russian artillery appear exceedingly devastating in battle, even if its contribution was certainly not negligible. Actually, more often than not the Russians were actually outgunned by the French (At Friedland in 1807 the Russian batteries across the Alle were silenced by French artillery while Sénarmont destroyed the Russian center. At Borodino in 1812 the French artillery dominated the battlefield. The most noteworthy Russian artillery success was the destruction of Augereau’s at Eylau in 1807, but it did not prove decisive.

  2. Jesse Mack says:

    Hello Matt,

    You may be doing this already, but when my kids are ill I like to sleep with them on a recliner. I find that the different position sometimes helps to keep their airways clear, and they get a better sleep.

    • Sandy says:

      Things I wish I’d done differently. Bought a really deep vibrating recliner instead of a rocking chair. The most important parenting accessory after the snugli!

  3. Very true! I love the way you describe this job we call parenting! Amen and amen!

  4. Reblogged this on Political Ness and commented:
    Brilliance.

  5. There is nothing I disagree with. Especially, when it pukes, it pours! Love it! Love your heart!

  6. mommyx4boys says:

    My husband and i have four boys and it is very hard work especially if you raise your children right sometimes i cry sometimes i i laugh sometimes i fuss and sometimes i laugh just so i won’t cry. And then there are the moments when one of my beautiful boys look up at me and say i love you mommy and i melt

  7. SLIMJIM says:

    Reading this floods me of memory of both our crucible to parenting as well…our little ones are both 2 or under

  8. Emily says:

    Caring for my children was what I expected. Though it had frustrating moments, it was my own personal chosen “career”. So parenthood never was, in my perception, counter to my personal goals. But I did have other goals, I kept my education updated, worked when I could find work that fit in with motherhood, and planned. I nearly made it — my last child was heading out the door in another year, I would now have time for the next step, and yes, I was really looking forward to it. Then I realized, my parents were waiting at the other end, with many of the same needs as children, and none, absolutely none of the control I had as a parent. In comparison to what I have facing me now, parenting was a doodle. And a piece of me is crying, “What about me? This wasn’t what I planned.” Which I never felt while parenting. I will have to make new plans, which I will try to do once I am done grieving the loss of my original plan. But I’m still grieving, really grieving those old plans. So your post was a helpful reminder Matt, of the overall goal, which I have to remember is more about God’s plan for me than my plans for myself. So, thank you.

  9. Pingback: Mr. Matt Walsh Delivers Again! | Full Hands, Full Hearts

  10. I’m 42 and have a 14 month old sleeping on my other arm……wouldn’t change a thing.
    http://www.theDHblog.com

  11. G Fox says:

    I was a single adult for 12 years before marrying and having my daughter. Unfortunately, when she was 7, my husband and I divorced. Going back to single adulthood was not hard…except for one thing. I now had to assume most of the responsibility for raising my daughter and paying the bills. It was a whole new life for me. We had our difficulties, but with God’s help and my Christian friends’ support, we came through some hard years. Today she is a beautiful, loving mother herself and I have found joy in being a grandmother. Having a child changes your perspective on things and brings a whole new group of concerns. But it also brings a whole new group of benefits. If you choose not to become a parent, for whatever reason, fine. Parenthood is not a bowl of cherries; it is hard work involving patience, stress, sleepless nights, etc. If you are willing to invest yourself in the life of a child, it is a worthy endeavor. If not, it is probably better to opt out.

    The priority of relationships doesn’t change just because a child is born. The spouse must come first because they are your partner in parenthood and in life. Taking time to nurture your relationship is critical and will help when decisions must be made regarding the children. Stay close and work together to build a strong family unit. It’s what our society needs so desperately.

  12. amy baez says:

    Child-less refers to the idea that you are missing something. Less of a person if you are married with no children. I have a child and my husband has a child. We have none together and we have been married for 5 years. Our marriage together… is child-free. It used to be child-less but after 4 miscarrages we gave uo the idea of having younger siblings for our girls (they are almost teens) and got a dog. Our marriage isn’t less without our children together. Instead when the kids are grown and gone we will be traveling and planning retirement. Doesnt sound bad to me!

    • Kristin says:

      It sounds like you certainly did not choose NOT to have kids. You valiantly tried. I would not put you in the same category as people who choose not even to try, and who don’t want children. My mother suffered 5 miscarriages herself. I admire people like you who try so hard and for so long. Bless you and your family.

  13. True, I love kids, but there is no more ME in I.

  14. gem says:

    I sympathize with you- 2 kids sick must be hard work! But they are worth any amount of work and difficulty. What you said about people’s attitude to kids rings true with me- I feel I wasn’t born to be a mother as some women seem to be, and I had a hard time adjusting; I feel I am definitely not as selfish now… my daughter has trained me to selflessness since she was born 4 years ago!
    I feel that women have it easier than men though, overall. My ex-husband who was similar in attitude to me before I got pregnant, hasn’t changed at all, and I feel this failure to adapt is behind a lot of the failed marriages these days. People are just unable to put themselves in the role of good parent, or family man/woman. I try to see my daughter as a gift, and know that she won’t always need so much of my time and attention (being a single mum, that’s pretty much ALL of it, lol). Even now I already miss her being a baby, though at the time, without having much help or support, I was somewhat resenting of the lack of freedom; c’est la vie : )

  15. preceptcamden says:

    Thank you, Matt, for cutting to the heart of the issue. You are so right. Children (and elderly people) are seen as irritations that need to be eliminated before they take up MY valuable time and resources. My sister has triplets. These long-awaited blessings are the light and joy of our family. We were recently having lunch in a coffee shop over the Christmas holidays and a woman commented in passing, “I’m glad it’s y’all and not me!” I happily responded, “We’re glad it’s us, too!”

    • April says:

      Everyone us different. My ‘grandmother’ forced my 17 year old mother to give me up for adoption. The social services didn’t check where I was placed, so I spent 12 years of my life living across the road from a paedophilic ‘grandparent’. My adoptive mother refused to believe me and my brother when we told her. My other adoptive grandfather never accepted us. I tried to have children because I wanted a blood relative (why?) but health problems meant we could not have children of our own. Life is not black and white, it’s messy. Despite a pretty horrific childhood, i have built a life, but believe me the current cult of yummy mummy and proud granny is not something I am convinced by. Being judged for my childfree state is pretty cruel. I am a survivor, still recovering.

  16. Scott Hoey says:

    Awesome post. My wife and I have four boys and just found out we’re pregnant again. My father in law says, “your parents raise you half way, your kids raise you the other half.” Since we have four children already, when we go to restaurants or other public places we always get lots of looks, like we’re leppers. The world does not like children and they barely tolerate them. I love your writing. Thanks.

  17. Judy McMillan says:

    Forgive me, but I got a real chuckle reading about your sons phlegm, your nose and your reaction. Every moment is precious with your children, even the yucky moments. And enjoy all of the moments. Savor the moments for they are fleeting. It won’t be long and you will have grandchildren. You will wonder how the time escaped you. Your life as a parent is just beginning. Enjoy the journey.

  18. marytoo says:

    I had a discussion recently with someone about this parenting thing. I commented on the irony of how this family/baby thing has changed in our society:

    Loose, un-moraled, unmarried people are having babies in record numbers because they engage in baby-making activity whenever wherever with whomever their little heart desires at the moment. Pure self-indulgence, and consequences be hanged.

    On the other hand, we have responsible, self-sufficient, yuppie, dinky-type people with tons of $$$ and all the best, in the way of THINGS, that life has to offer, but no kids to muck it all up. Ah, the other side of self-indulgence.

    Boy, did I get an earful after expressing my opinion!

    PS, I understand that this is a blanket statement and there are people who would love to have children and can’t for whatever reason, just as I understand that there are unwanted babies born of rape and incest, but I would suggest that those are a minority, and of course I am not talking about them.

    • April says:

      You should indeed get more than an earful. How dare you? What a narrow view of life! You are perfect I presume……

  19. Karri M. says:

    Very well spoken, Matt. I totally understand where you are coming from and the message you intended for us to get. If you don’t want kids, don’t have them. But protect yourself from pregnancy, because once that sperm enters that egg, there is life, and YOU are responsible for it. You don’t want it, fine, don’t keep it, but don’t kill it either. MY Life began when I had my son 24 years ago. What IS life anyway? It’s not yours, it’s HIS. Live for HIM. I have and my son does too.

  20. Rebecca C says:

    I think a good bit of our self-absorption about kids (in my Millenial generation) has a lot to do with delayed marriage. To simplify a complex argument, if you don’t get married until 35, and don’t start trying to have kids until 38, you’ve spent probably 17 years living by yourself, and then 4 married. When a person spends that much time living by themselves they get certain habits, one of those being that they are used to making their own decisions, and living their own way, free of restrictions. It is only natural that someone who has been living like that for nearly 20 years is going to not react well to suddenly giving up their right to “control”, particularly compared to someone who got married at 20, and only lived alone for 2-3 years. Mark Gungor says it better than I, but you get the gist.

    Who all hasn’t gotten those comments, whether meant to be funny or snide, about “Your life is over!” in reference to getting married? Yeah. Because apparently you can’t have fun after you get married OR have kids…

  21. Larissa says:

    Great message, but just because you choose not to have kids, doesn’t mean you are being selfish. It’s easy for a man to say that. Some women, myself included, have never had that lifelong dream of being a mother. I thought maybe my feelings would change, but they haven’t. Maybe it’s my fears, insecurities about myself, or never having grown up around babies, or that I just over think the whole thing. If you think it’s wrong to choose not to have kids, do you think it’s wrong to choose how many and when to have kids? As long as we know how to make babies, we have the freedom to decide when and how many to have. It must be nice to have that feeling of always knowing that you wanted kids, but some of us have never had that maternal urge for even one second. What is selfish is to have kids for the wrong reasons like to give you purpose, to make you happy, to have a lineage, or because you think it will make you a better person. You shouldn’t give a job to a kid before you have it. Some of us are content being great aunts and uncles!

    • April says:

      So well spoken Larissa. Take note Marytoo.

    • Word Warrior says:

      Larissa,

      I would differ with your first sentence, based on your third one. “have never had that lifelong dream of being a mother”

      Life isn’t supposed to be about fulfilling your dreams. Babies are a biologically, natural process in marriage and they don’t show up only to people who “have had a lifelong dream” of having them. They are a normal part of life and they change us, in good, ways, as Matt points out.

      From a Christian perspective, knowing how to make babies doesn’t necessarily give us the freedom to decide to prevent them. We actually can’t make babies and that should give us pause.

  22. Brandie says:

    Great post! I’d like to add one other common reason people don’t want kids.

    Pop psychology.

    Parents are being given a lot of nonsensical advice on child-rearing, and the kids are turning into lazy, spoiled brats. Of course, we are to lay down our lives for those around us, especially our own children. But, God never tells us we have to let them constantly talk back and argue, while we serve them hand and foot long after they are capable of doing things on their own. I listen to mothers say how they spend so much time cleaning their 12 year old’s room, drive them 1/2 mile to soccer (when the kid has a bike and it’s not raining). I know many mothers who get a second job, or work over time to pay for all their children’s sports and entertainment activities – on top of being their children’s live in maid. They sit over their kids homework for hours every night, not because the kid doesn’t understand, but because they are being lazy. As a parent, I have been rebuked for letting my 12 year old boy mow the lawn, and my other kids for doing dishes. My kids are in two outside activities, I’ve been told this isn’t enough. I say all this to point out that, yes, we are to lay our life down for our children, and if we do it God’s way, we will have a beautiful harvest that made it all worth it. But, if we do it pop psychology’s way, we will simply have over- grown, selfish, spoiled children for all our trouble. This is how people are generally doing it in our culture right now, and I can see why childless couples don’t want to deal with it. I think Matt covered this when he said that our lives belong to Him. Some parents today worship their children instead of God, and this is mistaken for being a good, sacrificial parent. The results are terrible and scare people away from parenting.

  23. Face it Matt. You’re not a “me” person and you never will be.

  24. Mimi says:

    So well written, such pure unadulterated truth. My children are all grown, but I look back on that very intense time of raising them with joy. It was the best yet hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything this world has to offer. I can hardly remember a time without children. Now I have a grandson, and the circle continues and it’s even more joyous. Thank you for your insightful and inspiring blog. It’s so refreshing to hear the truth!!!

  25. Matt, such a good post. This is where real growth happens and for those that do not parent, they will never know what real selfless maturity is. The beauty of marriage is that it is a mortar and pestle to growth. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I hope my own children understand this, time will tell. Blessings to you. You will survive and be better for it.

  26. Cathy B. says:

    Great job of sifting thru the ups and downs of parenting. It also isn’t for ‘sissies’ Parenting is tough and many times thankless, but the greatest honor I’ve ever been blessed with, too.
    My twins are now 23 and still the most precious ‘gifts’ ever, but all 4 of my children know that their daddy and I are ‘first’ in each others lives after God, and that has brought them security like no other.

  27. saranicole says:

    Beautifully said! I agree with EVERY WORD! I also struggle with “MY”… I think it’s why I get so frustrated at bedtime when the girls are being difficult. I’m ready for OUR time to be over because I need some ME time.

    And because I know you want all of our advice… When my daughter’s congested, I strap her in her car seat to sleep. It’s helps if they can sleep inclined, and the can double as a mom- or dad-powered swing…

  28. Ellen says:

    Earlier this week I was listening to a syndicated morning radio show. They were discussing people who don’t want children. As a mother of six this caught my attention, mostly because I just don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want children. To each his (or her) own. I then listened to several calls from people saying, if they had to do it all over again, they would not have had children. Some went so far as to say having children ruined their lives. I felt so bad for their children. I believe even if these unwanted children aren’t told, flat out, that they are unwanted, they will be told in many other ways. They may be neglected physically, mentally, and emotionally. They will flounder trying to teach themselves how to survive in this world. Many will be angry and destructive, to themselves and others, because they haven’t known real love.
    I then began to feel sorry for the parents who wished they hadn’t had children. Couldn’t they see the things they could learn from parenthood? Things that they couldn’t learn as well any other way? Things such as unconditional love (both in giving and receiving), selflessness, joy in bringing joy to another, teaching-whether it be life lessons or skills, sharing….and so many more.
    My children aren’t perfect there are medical difficulties and one son struggles with mental health issues. But I have never wished that I didn’t have them. God knows what he’s doing when he gives us children. He doesn’t make mistakes. Children are a gift! Even when they are cranky, sick, belligerent, etc. I have never had greater heartache than my kids have, at times, given me. I have never had greater JOY than I’ve had through sharing my life with them. They are my magnum opus!

    • marytoo says:

      I think this attitude results in large measure because people today are grossly self-centered and exceedingly immature. They are taught that #1 is #1, and the rest of you can go hang. So when it it looked at like that, no wonder they don’t want children. They don’t even want to get married or commit to anything outside of themselves because that might infringe on their *right* to come and go at whim.

  29. Cassandra says:

    Beautifully written. Thank you for advocating for parents everywhere that know Who their children REALLY belong to and are trying their best to honor Him as they raise them up. As a parent of four, ages 5 to 11, I really, really loved this post. Thank you for taking the time to write it 🙂

  30. IT says:

    As a parent of six I will tell that when you have more children Matt, the “your life is over” phrase will be replaced with “you guys must be crazy!” It’s funny though-the people who mutter both of those phrases I have found, seem to not be able to give up the ‘me’, and therefore parenting is a long tortuous trek they endure and participate in as little as possible. It makes me sorry for their kids.
    Hope your babies are feeling better and your household can get some rest.

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  32. Stephannie says:

    I have to say, Mr. Walsh, that reading your blog entries enlightens my day and blesses my life. I’m grateful to the friend who sent me one of your earlier blogs and got me started following you.

  33. Heather says:

    then those people who said “oh man your life is over” should never have kids!!!

  34. Luscinia says:

    To be honest, I don’t think you had much of a life to begin with.

  35. Pamela says:

    I am always amazed and proud of you Matt. I am a Christian myself and it is a high calling to speak God’s truth and you do it beautifully, God sure has blessed you, thank you for using the gift God gave you to glorify Him, I look forward to meeting you in Heaven some day!!!

  36. lightscameraandaction says:

    hang in there

  37. Busy Nurse Mom says:

    I very much needed this message. Thank you for sharing.

  38. So, just out of curiosity…how is it that so many people can claim their lives are over when they have children even though their children are under someone else’s care for such an exorbitant amount of time? The custom now is to ship children off to a babysitter, daycare, or preschool no later than age 2, usually under the guise of economic advantage for the family or, (rolling my eyes here,) the “educational benefit” for the child. Truth be told, most of the time people just don’t want to deal with their kids. And often they CAN’T, not because of their circumstances, but because the necessary tools for dealing with kids 24/7–like patience and wisdom and long-suffering–are only formed through those long, rough nights of sickness and little sleep and those days of talking and relationship-building and character-reinforcing with our kids.

    That stuff is hard work. It requires a major investment of time and energy and parents don’t want to do it anymore. So we turn the job over to “professionals” and then we conveniently have somebody else to blame when they screw it up.

    I empathize with the this-is-MY-life mentality. It’s human nature, after all. But I hope parenting is changing me, slowly, one vomit-soaked, blessing-drenched day at a time.

    Love your writing, Mr. Walsh.

    • marytoo says:

      Excellent observation.

    • Jillann says:

      Hey Matt – Just started reading your blog and I love it! Love this parenting post. We are blessed with two beautiful babies so far. As a note to Tanya – sometimes the daycare decision is not one to send your children off because you can’t deal with them. My heart breaks almost everyday as I send my children off to daycare. I don’t have the option to stay home. Sometimes the sacrifice a mom (maybe dads too) makes is being apart from her children so they can have their basic needs met.

  39. terryfenwick says:

    I love it – all of it. Every word of it. All the heart of it.

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  41. Mom who learned it this round says:

    Next time it gets that crazy cold, make every faucet drip hot water nonstop, turn off exterior faucets from the inside of the house then go then them fully to on on the outside of your home. Prevents frozen then burst pipes. 😉

  42. Genkigirl says:

    Wow.
    I am currently at the tail end of a pity party.
    We are a military family, up for orders…and the decision has been made. Again, what is best for my husband’s career, the Navy, our kids, the places we already volunteer, homeschooling, and (admittedly) everything else in our lives agrees with this decision. And I am left wondering, again, when will what I want (or even–dare I say–need) match up with it all?

    Don’t worry…I will pray myself straight.
    I will be content. I choose to be a woman of God before a selfish ME.

    Because it’s all about choice.

    A faith based life asks us first to CHOOSE love. Then, ACT on it. And then we will FEEL IT. The world does the exact opposite. We feel love (or not). We act on it (or not). And then we make our choice (or not).

    If I parent, love, or work on how I feel first, I will certainly act and make choices that follow worldly values.

    So today, I choose my marriage. I choose to be a mom. I choose to serve wherever I am called. I choose to plug into whatever community the Navy deams necessary. I will act on those choices. (As selflessly as possible.) And I will eagerly anticipate liking it all.

    Now back to my own sick baby and other kids who need cuddles and help with homework.

    Thanks for the reminder that I’m not alone and that there is purpose to making my life completely His life.

  43. Tiffanie says:

    My life ended about 15 years ago. I never thought about having kids before we got married ~ but I’m so glad family and children are part of God’s plan for me. They have brought me joy I never knew I was missing or knew that I wanted. That being said, “when it pukes it pours” around here too!! I’ve so been there! ( http://thewridefamily.blogspot.com/2013/02/barf-week.html ) You’re doing great, thank you for sharing your gift to articulate parenthood!!

  44. James A. Lee says:

    Mr. Rogers didn’t fail all of us. Nice post. We too are experiencing the joys of puke and more puke. Oh.. and the other stuff to. I’ll save the story of how I got it in the face/mouth/eyes…etc.

    Good post. The way I see it – the best has just begun. I often look at the kids and think – I can’t wait to tell you about this when you are older – as they giggle and aggravate with no end in sight as you sit there trying to have one cup of coffee in peace.

  45. Steve Keller says:

    Matt – you lucky dog! Twins and a wife you love, who shares your commitment. Love triumphs sleep deprivation. Your mom was a wise woman. Couple of things that I learned in my journey as dad to two boys (now 13 and 17):

    1. From about 1 yr old on, the process of parenting is about letting them go. They will teach you how if you listen/learn, take heed of your own childhood, especially the experience that having some autonomy brought you.

    2. The ever harder parenting decisions are a little easier if you think about how you wish your children to be as parents/spouses/citizens/faith filled people. I sometimes tell my children: “there is no way I would let you behave that way with my daughter in law/grandchildren!” It is harsh, so should be used sparingly. Obviously too soon to say to your children, but time moves faster than you think.

    Oh, and my grandma used to say you can’t spoil a baby before he/she is one year old.

    God bless is your journey and Go Bears!

    Steve (in MN)

  46. Carissa Elizabeth says:

    Reblogged this on THE ORTHODOX NERD and commented:
    As a Mom Wannabe, this is pretty much perfect.

  47. Pistolette says:

    You’ve inspired me to write again Matt. After quitting 3 years ago because I couldn’t handle all the hate mail/comments after 2 back-to-back births… Some things just need to be said – and said well. Thank you.

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